Figuring Out Your Ideal Weight
There are three main things you need to know before you begin a weight loss plan. The first thing is to know how many calories to consume per day and the second is to know what weight that you want to be (ideal weight). The third thing is to estimate how many calories you will lose per week.
Armed with your ideal weight, your calories to lose per week, and your amount of calories to consume per day, you can then figure out the time frame for your dietary plan.
Ways to Calculate Ideal Weight
BMI (body mass index)
There are several ways to calculate your ideal weight. Perhaps the most popular is the BMI (body mass index). The body mass index is based on your height and weight only. Here are the calculations.
If you're using the metric system, the formula to determine BMI is:
Weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (weight (kg) / [height (m)2]).
Since height is commonly measured in centimeters, divide height in centimeters by 100 to obtain height in meters before you use the formula.
If you're using the English system of measurement, the BMI formula is:
Weight in pounds (lbs) divided by height in inches (in) squared and multiplied by a conversion factor of 703 (weight (lbs) / [height (in)2] x 703).
It is sometimes more convenient to use one of the online BMI calculators or online BMI charts. You will need to know the BMI categories to understand the answer the calculator gives you.
BMI CategoriesUnderweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
Overweight = 25-29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
BMI Calculators and ChartsHere is a BMI calculator for adults http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
Here is a BMI calculator for children and teens
BMI applies to most people, but not to everyone. Some people that are very muscular or very non muscular (elderly) can have a false BMI. For example, according to BMI, basketball player Shaquille O' Neal is morbidly obese.
BMI is an easy way to quickly come up with a number that is close for a lot of people. However, it is simply too simple a calculation to apply to all people. It doesn't calculate body fat percentage and that is what is important.
One of the least expensive ways to get your body fat percentage is with calipers. With calipers you measure the body fat you can pinch at set places on the body. You use the caliper readings to determine body fat percentage. It is the most accurate and economical way to find out your true body fat percentage. You can buy body fat calipers for as low as $20.00.
Underwater or Hydrodensitometry
This testing is done at a doctors office or a research facility. Technicians will weigh your body weight on land and then under water. They will have you sit in a chair and strap you in. The chair will be suspended above the tank. Then they will ask you to expel all of your air and be submerged. You must hold your breath for 10-12 seconds for an accurate reading. An average of 8-10 readings will give your body fat percentage.
The procedure works by measuring the amount of displaced water. Fatter individuals will displace more water than lean individuals of the same body weight. This is how they calculate body density.
These are the scales that send an electrical signal through your bare feet. There is also one that you can hold in your hands. The electrical current is so small that you do not even feel it.
This method will get you close to your body fat percentage range. However, the numbers will change based on you water saturation levels. The device is also more prone to error for the morbidly obese or the elderly. Many of these devices are error prone in the 5-8% range. That is actually a lot for someone that has a lean 10% body fat.
Ask an honest person if you look fat. It sounds crazy, but it can really work. You won't be deluding yourself and you don't even need to make a calculation.